Tag Archives: Madeleine Stowe

Revenge: “Commitment” episode review

7 Feb

Our commitment to our choices tells us and others who we are.  Ok.  I will buy that.   I always love the ‘profound’ opening thoughts of Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp), philosopher and destroyer of lives.  The big question for Emily is (and this is a spoiler alert):  now that Emily knows Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) is her half-sister, will she alter her plans?  Most likely, no.  But at some point Emily’s humanity will cause her some problems.  I would be willing to bet it will be with Jack (Nick Wechsler).  For now, Emily will try and frame faux Amanda (Margarita Levieva) for burning down Treadwell’s house in the previous episode, while simultaneously using Charlotte as not only a pawn in the divorce between the Graysons but also making sure she can confirm that Charlotte is indeed her half sister.  It’s at times like these the old saying, “you can choose your friends but not your family” comes to mind.  I actually almost feel bad for Charlotte.  She’s going to be screwed.

Sadly for Charlotte, just when things are looking up, they fall apart.  Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny) surprisingly offers to pay for young Declan’s (Connor Paolo) tuition to Charlotte’s school.  This offer is far too good to be true.  What kind of dad would do that?  Apparently not a real dad.  As soon as Conrad learns that Charlotte isn’t his, he not only rescinds the offer of Declan’s tuition, he rejects her and sends her to live with her mother.  Not a very nice move.  In fact, such a crappy move that it makes Conrad even more unlikable than he was before.  Which I didn’t think was possible.  This raises the stakes later in the drama as Grayson is surely being set up at some point to be killed off.  At least that is my guess.  You don’t make a character a terrorist, a ruthless capitalist pig and a bad father without him ending up paying some sort of price as the stakes raise.

Daniel (Joshua Bowman) proposes to Emily, who says yes.  Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) suspects that Amanda burned down Treadwell’s house.  She sends someone to find evidence in Jack’s place that will expose Amanda as the arsonist and thief  who stole the tapes revealing that Charlotte was hers and David Clarke’s (James Tupper).  Jack, however, manages to walk in while the perpetrator retrieves the tapes and ends up getting badly beaten.  Obviously it is dangerous to be a friend or acquaintance of Emily Thorne’s.

In the end though, it seems that it is even more dangerous to be the child of Victoria Grayson.  Especially since she would lie to her own son and claim David Clarke raped her rather than just admit she cheated on his father.    But we all know her lies will catch up soon enough.  And I’m not sure how I feel about this.  My overarching question is:  will Victoria be punished for being a bad mother or a bad person?   It isn’t her being a bad mother that caused so much pain, it is about her being a selfish person.  And while one can be a bad mother and a selfish person, I don’t always believe that one continually informs the other.  Or maybe it does.  I do know that while Conrad Grayson is a bad father we are supposed to consider him an evil person above everything else.  Perhaps it is because with men, they don’t always have a choice about becoming a father, but in at least free, democratic societies with equal rights and proper government funding, women do have the choice whether or not they want to be a mother.

As this episode ends, Daniel stupidly seals his own fate by telling Emily that he’d send her own father to hell for raping his mother if her father weren’t dead already.  So Emily decides to move forward with her plan and marry for revenge.  Is that any worse than marrying for money?  We are about to find out.

Revenge: “Infamy” episode review

24 Jan

Sometimes in a series there are episodes that just don’t grab me.  This one falls into that category.  I had to restart it 7 times.    There is too much and not enough happening at the same time.  Instead of wasting my time, writing about an episode that took me about 3 hours to watch with me continually zoning out, I’m going to give a very short recap.

Conrad (Henry Czerny) gives Daniel (Joshua Bowman) partial access to his trust.  He can have the cash but he can’t have voting shares in the company until he is 30 or married.  Gee, I wonder where that story line is going…

Mason Treadwell (Roger Bart), an author made famous by writing about David Clarke (David Tupper), comes back for a visit.  We get to watch flashbacks in which poor Emily, then still Amanda Clarke, decides to trust Mason Treadwell and sadly believes the lies he ends up writing about her father, having no idea at the time the Conrad and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) bribed him.  I do like how Emily (Emily VanCamp) decides to get this wanker back though… first she sends faux Amanda (Margarita Levieva) to talk with Treadwell and sets up a contentious meeting between the two, then (SPOILER ALERT),Emily burns down Treadwell’s house while Nolan (Gabriel Mann) pretends to be interested in hiring him to do his biography.  At the same time, Victoria wants Treadwell to find out from faux Amanda why she has returned to the Hamptons.

Amanda is ramping up in every sense of the word.  Kissing girls in the bar, pretending like she’s staring in Coyote Ugly, and getting more jealous by the minute about Jack’s (Nick Wechsler) closeness with Emily.

One thing Emily rescues are the taped interviews with her father and she finds out some news I know I suspected from the start – that Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) is his daughter.  We all know Emily won’t be welcoming her with open arms.  Poor Charlotte is probably really screwed now…

Revenge: “Duress” episode review

12 Jan

Before Christmas, Emily Thorne’s plan for revenge was starting to unravel.  Her short hiatus from the ABC broadcast schedule did not allow her time to regroup.  No.  She hasn’t regained control and it doesn’t help when you throw a psychotic misanthrope into the mix.  One of the best descriptions of Tyler (Ashton Holmes) in this episode:  Cold Turkey meets Hot Mess.  I might actually miss him once he implodes completely.

SPOILER ALERT:

Conrad (Henry Czerny) and Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) start divorce negotiations.  Both want Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) and Grayson Manor.  It seems like it might be a long, bitter battle.

Emily (Emily VanCamp) suggests they celebrate Daniel’s (Joshua Bowman) birthday by throwing a clambake.  [Aside: There are tabloid rumors these two were hot and heavy in Paris over New Year’s in real life.]  Victoria knows that’s Emily’s idea even though Daniel pretends it’s his.  And who is catering the affair?  None other than Jack (Nick Wechsler).  Because that won’t be uncomfortable.

Emily apologizes to Nolan (Gabriel Mann) and they rejoin forces.  With his help, she searches Tyler’s belongings and discovers Tyler’s psychotic and off his meds, as well as recovering Nolan’s stolen secret camera.  Later, Emily announces Tyler’s little secret to Daniel and Ashley (Ashley Madekwe).  She can’t really defend a psychotic hustler any more.  Daniel’s disturbed enough to want to take a gun to his clambake.

Tyler lets everyone believe he’s left the area but instead he attacks Nolan, ties him up and goes to the clambake to take his own revenge.  Daniel lets his guard down and puts the gun away.  Stupid move, Daniel.  Tyler appears at the clambake, threatening to divulge all the information he knows.  Conrad doesn’t look pleased.  He’s even more tense since faux Amanda Clarke (Margarita Levieva) is also a guest at the clambake and could learn the truth about her father.  But we all know that information is already common knowledge between Emily and faux Amanda.  Just as Tyler is about to shoot Emily, Nolan and Tyler’s brother appear.  Tyler’s subdued and perhaps now some of Emily’s plans can get back on track…

Revenge: “Loyalty” episode review

21 Dec

Loyalty and betrayal.  You can’t have one without the other.  Well, maybe some lucky person can have only loyalty but usually betrayal rears its ugly head at some point in a relationship.  Unfortunately, that is human nature.  And in this episode of Revenge, we get to watch as Emily (Emily VanCamp) loses the loyalty of two allies while simultaneously betraying her own loyalty to one of them.  And yes, obviously we get to see other examples of loyalty and betrayal:  poor Jack (Nick Wechsler) — he, like Sammy the Dog, is probably the most loyal character on the show, believing that he is finally with his true love, Amanda, when it is really Faux Amanda (Margarita Levieva).  So poor Jack is not only betrayed by Faux Amanda by playing a con game of love on him, he is betrayed by Emily, the real Amanda, who secretly loves him, yet can’t bring herself to reveal the truth to him, allowing him to be a pawn in her game, rather than a real player.

Tyler (Ashton Holmes) is betrayed a few times, first by Nolan (Gabriel Mann), although Nolan does try and protect him since he definitely has a…. um…. soft spot for him, but then by Emily when she reveals to Daniel  that Tyler is blackmailing Nolan with a sex tape, and finally, by his friend Daniel (Joshua Bowman) when Daniel reveals to his father the whole sexual blackmail angle.  But really, not only does he deserve it, he thrives on bad turns of events.  We get to see why… he’s psychotic and he’s just run out of his anti-psychotics so things should get very interesting.  Who would have thought that Mr. Ripley’s TV double would be Emily’s biggest problem yet?  But as Tyler gets threatened, he fights back and chooses his weapons carefully.  It should be noted all his ammunition is in the form or information, the same information that Emily received from Nolan.   I guess we will see in the coming episodes who uses the information for a better advantage.

Finally, Daniel, being the mama’s boy that he is, runs home to protect his Mommy, Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) from Tyler.  Because she is such a defenseless woman.  He’s actually done Emily a favor by choosing his mother first.  Her mentor, Satoshi (Hiroyuki Sanada), is correct about him.  He is so disgusted with her lack of focus that he leaves, telling her he can no longer help her.  Yes, Emily, now is probably a smart time to start thinking about your recent choices… If things weren’t bad enough for Emily, first deserted by her boyfriend, then deserted by her mentor, she gets royally dumped by her one ally, Nolan, for betraying his confidence about the sex tape to Daniel.  Because she used a secret of Nolan’s and lied about it to Daniel (how could Tyler be blackmailing him really?  the recording was on Nolan’s portable Dolphin drive, not anything of Tyler’s), so Daniel could take that information and hurt Tyler.  Yes, part of that move was also to punish Nolan for not being completely loyal to Emily, and to get rid of Tyler in her own way, but it was also to help Daniel.  And she just did something anyone in warfare shouldn’t do:  take her eyes off the ball.

In the coming episodes, it seems Emily will have to refocus her efforts.  And get to see her next mark will be Victoria’s new divorce attorney, the man dropped her father’s appeal case.  I am wondering whose help she will employ because right now, she doesn’t even have Sammy, her dog.

Revenge: “Treachery” episode review

12 Dec

There is always a time in a character’s life on a television show when you feel that they are no longer driving the plot, the plot is driving them and this is where we are in ABC’s Revenge.  While it is true that sometimes events in a character’s plan/life must spiral out of control in order for there to not only be drama but for the viewers to not only derive pleasure in the character’s mastery (hopefully) of a disasterous situation but to admire the skill in which they turn the events of fate around to their advantage, sometimes there is overkill and right now, I feel like we are in overkill mode in this particular episode.  To add to the confusion, the show has ventured from its signature “takedown a week” in order for the plot catch up.  It just feels strange.  Perhaps they shouldn’t have established their signature episodic style so rigidly because it feels like the episode is floundering without footing.

Faux Amanda Clarke (Margarita Levieva) appears on Emily’s (Emily VanCamp) doorstep to announce she killed Frank (Max Martini).  Emily realizes her ‘friendship’ with this girl is going to cause several problems for her and what she doesn’t realize is that this is only the beginning.  She asks Nolan (Gabriel Mann) to watch Faux Amanda which results in her meeting Jack.  Nothing good can come of that flirtation unless Emily finally is willing to admit it’s actually Jack (Nick Wechsler)  she secretly loves.

Declan (Connor Paolo) and Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) continue their star-crossed lovers routine.  Jack tries to be a supportive older brother.  And at the Grayson household, bisexual conman interloper Tyler (Ashton Holmes) has struck some blackmail gold when he discovers that shredded speech of Lydia’s.  You would think the Grayson’s would at least spend the money on a confetti shredder given their life choices.

Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) insists that Lydia (Amber Valletta) stay at the Grayson home while she recovers, and later she overhears an argument between Victoria and Conrad (Henry Czerny) who states Frank tried to kill Lydia for Victoria.   Lydia realizes she needs to get out of there soon but Victoria comes in and removes the phone.  It’s hard to feel bad for Lydia.

Watching Emily scramble to cover her bases between Frank’s disappearance and death is not as exciting as it could be.  And is she so naive to believe that faux Amanda will be bought off so easily?  She’s forgetting the advice she was given in the flashback.  Faux Amanda is lonely and wants a friend.  And it looks like she plans on sticking around and getting far more than friendship with Jack.  Maybe things will heat up again.  I hope so.

Revenge: Episode 7 “Charade” review

12 Nov

Victoria Grayson doesn't know whether she's coming or going in this episode.

While I am still enjoying Revenge, I’m having a few issues with it.  Mainly that the producers tend to believe it is okay to change the character’s viewpoints according to their whims for plot purposes. They should know better.  And when you have a melodrama like this show, what makes it strong is that the characters stay true to who they are.  If they flip-flop for the sake of the plot, their motives no longer ring true and they become wishy-washy.  Who wants to waste their time watching wishy-washy characters.  If I want wishy-washy, I can walk out the door, go sit in a restaurant or coffee shop and eavesdrop for entertainment.  And I don’t have to worry about the advertisements.

Last week it was Emily/Amanda (Emily VanCamp) who seemed to not be able to focus.  This week, there is an even bigger problem, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe).  SPOILER ALERT:  Now Victoria feels sorry for Lydia (Amber Valletta) and wants to be her friend again.  It only took Lydia almost getting murdered by Frank (Max Martini) for Victoria to soften up.  The problem is that I think this turn in her character is sloppy writing or the ABC executives wimping out regarding an evil character.  Perhaps they’ve forgotten Joan Collins in Dynasty.  Yes that character was somewhat one-dimensional but it was still fun to watch as I was growing up.  I don’t want a wishy-washy villainess.  She needs a backbone and I’m sorry but I don’t believe she would forgive the woman that’s been screwing her husband for years.  Even if she doesn’t actually love her husband, it is about power and Lydia upended that balance of power.  If I were Victoria, I’d be going in to visit her and ask Frank to join me to finish the job he started.  I wouldn’t go hold her hand as she was in a coma.  I wouldn’t even bother visiting her.

Another character who doesn’t know his own mind is Nolan (Gabriel Mann).  He wants to butt into Emily’s life.  He snoops for her then as soon as the heat gets turned up, he runs away and refuses to play nice, then he’s back for another fix, with a body guard.  Oh and now, he’s also sexually ambiguous and beds Daniel’s friend, Tyler (Ashton Holmes) in order to take him down for Emily.  Maybe the strangest thing is that neither Nolan nor Tyler are actually even into each other at all so it felt very odd watching two parties about to have sex for no other reason than manipulation of a situation on both their parts.  It just felt like there was no attraction there to even spur on, well, an erection for either guy.  It was the most unsexy seduction scene, gay or straight I think I have ever witnessed on television.

We also get to meet the real Emily Thorne, someone Frank expertly uncovers when he breaks into the prison that once housed Emily/Amanda.  Sorry but that entire plot point is ridiculous.  We are led to believe the prison warden, played by CCH Pounder, mentored Emily/Amanda on staying safe, etc.  So what does she do at the first sign of someone coming to uncover secrets about Emily/Amanda, leaves the ‘sealed’ files readily available in her filing cabinet with absolutely no security except a lock on the door.  And I would love to know how Frank actually was able to get back into the prison without causing some suspicion.  The one high point is that the original Emily , who is now a stripper, who didn’t see that one coming, attacks Frank, leaves him at the side of the road, presumably fatally injured and appears on Emily’s doorstep.

Finally, Emily is cagey about who she actually loves.  My money is on Jack (Nick Wechsler), who she gave an antique compass to as a thank you for fixing her porch swing.  If you don’t think that proves she prefers him (because guess what guys, women only give gifts to men that they actually genuinely care about), then watch as she grabs the arm rest of the porch swing she’s sitting on with Daniel (Joshua Bowman) as he kisses her and admits he’s falling in love with her.  I believe that is the writer’s/producer’s way of letting us know that she prefers Jack and is possibly even thinking of him while kissing Daniel.  I think that everyone needs to figure out what page their characters are on or this show is going to turn into a complete clusterfuck.

Revenge: Episode 6 “Intrigue” review

30 Oct

Nobody likes it when the paid muscle starts thinking for himself and that’s what Frank (Max Martini) has been doing for a while on Revenge. It doesn’t help when he’s also banging the boss’s wife.  Then when he goes rogue, everyone’s in trouble.

SPOILER ALERT:

This is actually the first episode where it feels as if the show has made a misstep.  And that is with the Frank character.  Yes, obviously the drama and tension must be upped as we plod along this season and there are 22 episodes so something has to happen.  I’ll admit I was surprised that Lydia (Amber Valletta) managed to survive the fall and is now in a coma.  I would have preferred they just killed her off.  But I suppose we will now have to go through some ridiculous stereotypical narrative where Emily and the audience will wonder the following:  will she or won’t she wake up?  If she wakes up, will she remember?  If she wakes up and doesn’t remember, when will she regain her memory?  Because they always regain their memories.  I hoped for a bit more from the show.  Maybe it will surprise me.  I hope so.  But back to Frank and the misstep.

Frank determines through his own rogue investigation that Nolan (Gabriel Mann) went to Lydia’s apartment and he must have gotten ahold of the surveillance footage that incriminated him (which is a correct assumption).  What I don’t buy is the pat way in which, first of all, Emily (Emily VanCamp) and Nolan decide to set Frank up for Lydia’s fall (even though it was his fault).  The anonymous email to Conrad (Henry Czerny) was so uninspired.  And… we have seen Frank in flashbacks before but a more personal one against Emily/Amanda would have been more inspired.  Then how Frank corners Nolan at the 4th of July party and tries to shoot him in the kneecaps at the pool house.  It just seems – unprofessional.  And obvious.  Even more unbelievable is Nolan’s reaction.  That he tells Emily she’s on her own.  The guy has stalked her, broken into everything to keep an eye on her and the first sign of danger and he’s running.  I think his character would get angry then be even more annoyed that some hired muscle was smarter than him.  Not go running home with his tail between his legs.

Also, I’m beginning to wonder about Emily’s character.  She sleeps with Daniel (Joshua Bowman) and seems to care about him but we can see she’s also attracted to Jack (Nick Wechsler).  I have a hard time believing that they would not have at least kissed on the jetty when he declared his feelings for her.  The whole scene felt like a massive wimp out from everyone involved.  Yes I see that she cares and that’s why she can’t act but I think he would have tried to kiss her.  He was going for broke.  No guy, or I should say, American guy would take it that far and not go for at least one kiss.

Finally, Tyler (Ashton Holmes).  I knew a pathological liar once.  She was good but her stories became so outlandish it was easy to catch her.  Tyler’s are worse.  I’m having a hard time believing Dan wouldn’t question him at this point.  Or Ashley (Ashley Madekwe).  These people are supposed to be sophisticated.  Not a bunch of idiots.  When he bashes his head against the post to implicate Dan, it’s essentially laughable and I have a hard time believing Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) can’t detect his bullshit.

I hope this episode doesn’t mark a turning point in the series where everything just becomes a convenient plot point.  Because that would be extremely disappointing.

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